It's been a whole year and a day since I last posted (which means I've now been officially vegan for fourteen years!), and while I meant to get back into blogging more regularly, that obviously didn't materialize. Not that I don't have a bucketful of posts in my drafts folder (34, to be exact, going all the way back to 2011 for heaven's sake), but I just realized too that I only posted TWICE last year. So, what happened?
In part, looking after my mom has taken up a lot of my time and energy. Back in 2018, I posted about her dementia diagnosis and my taking a one-year leave of absence from work to become her caregiver. Well, I never did return to work after that leave of absence, and Mom's condition deteriorated quickly enough that in 2021 she finally went into long-term care. (Was supposed to go in March of 2020 but a pandemic rudely intervened.) And if I naively thought that all my tasks and worries would be over now that she was getting 24-hour care, ha! Nope, that's when an extra workload begins, but that's another story as is life in long-term care during COVID-19.
Mom will have been at her current facility for 1½ years come September when she turns 95. When she first arrived she was still mobile and using a walker. Now she's completely immobile, stuck in a Broda chair, and her legs are contracted like a pretzel. She was still verbal and lucid enough, but now there are many times when her words are complete gibberish. She's often agitated, distressed, calls out for her mother (in Dutch, moeder, MOEDER!), and doesn't always recognize me, even though I'm in daily.
I can tell you as well that by having to witness her suffering and that of some of the other residents, I have become an even more staunch supporter of MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying - made legal in Canada in 2016) than I was before. Mom wouldn't be eligible for MAiD anyway as she can no longer give consent, and the faith-based institution she is in is dead set against it (the term "dead set" striking me as somewhat funny in this particular context), but I tell ya, I would want MAiD for myself even if it killed me. (Okay, gallows humour appears to be getting the better of me, snort.)
Seriously though, watching a parent go through this end-of-life hell is probably one of the toughest things one can do. And it makes you question why we're willing to grant pets (that most of our species considers to be inferior) a dignified and merciful ending to their suffering, while making it so difficult for people. It doesn't make sense.
So, that's a big part of why I've been absent. Another major reason is my bewilderment at how completely cockeyed our world has become, and the despair at the lack of power individual folk have in not being able to stop that trajectory. If we thought that Donald being elected back in 2016 was absurd enough, societal regression seems to have ramped up even more. I can't believe the times we live in, and it feels like it keeps getting worse.
Last year I started a draft post of what was pissing me off, and some of the items included the number of vegans embracing anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and retweeting fools like Theo Fleury, the passing of the horrendous Texas 6-week abortion ban, folk who still insist that global warming and climate change is a hoax despite the increasing in-your-face fires, floods, hurricanes and other "natural" disasters witnessed worldwide, the infantile and ridiculous obsession in the US with the right to keep and bear arms, and the seemingly unlimited American tolerance for gun violence no matter how many people and children get killed.
So far in this year Ottawa was held hostage by the "FreeDumb Convoy" in February, we're currently in the seventh wave of COVID in Ontario and the umpteenth outbreak at my mom's LTC facility, the right to abortion healthcare in the US was stripped after 50 years by Supreme Court justices deciding that individual states have the right to enforce forced birth upon their citizens, the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas illustrated how many Americans STILL worship guns above all else, 3600 people were killed by extreme heat waves in Europe in July, and of course the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has already displaced 14 million people and ended the lives of at least 20K. It's mind-numbing.
Animals haven't fared well either. Flooding in the province of British Columbia back in December killed more than 640,000 pigs, cows and chickens, but climate change denial lives on. In that same province, 2 animal rights activists were recently found guilty of Break and Enter and Mischief, while in a gross miscarriage of justice the farm owners faced no consequences whatsoever for their legal and illegal abuse of animals. After Ontario passed their "Ag Gag" law in 2020, federal "Ag-Gag" Bill C-205 passed its second reading before Parliament dissolved as a federal election was called. Now, an almost identical bill reintroduced by the same member, John Barlow, will again be up for debate.
Even species more favoured by humans, like cats and dogs, are sadly being surrendered in record numbers to animal shelters. Blame it on inflation or lifted COVID restrictions enabling people to work at their workplace instead of at home, but many supposed guardians of these animals are abandoning their caregiving promise.
I ended up abandoning my what-pisses-me-off post because it was getting too long, and too damn depressing. It's hard to know how to make a difference, and what words to use to reach those who don't seem to care or want to know about how humans are succeeding in destroying our environment, animals, and each other. As one reader of this blog once commented, it's so tiring saying the same thing over and over. Exactly.
And there are times when I think that if our human species is that hell-bent on destroying themselves and everything around them, well, so be it. When I was lamenting the choices in our last provincial election, someone said to me that we get the government we deserve. If that's true, then in the same vein humans collectively get the environment we deserve as well. But future generations will be stuck with solving all the needless problems they didn't create and don't deserve, and animals certainly don't deserve the extinction of themselves and their habitats.
So where does that leave us? What can we do? I don't have the answers of course, and I find it maddening to keep having to watch our species not only messing things up, but implementing laws and policies that were more typical 70 years ago. I mean, we might as well be living in 1952 given the extreme right-wing conservative push-back in too many places. The prime minister of Hungary (considered a hero by far too many conservatives) has openly lamented Europe becoming a "mixed race" society, and doesn't even seem to recognize the inherent racism of his views.
And while we watched reproductive rights being stripped in so many other countries, who would have thought that nine individuals (but especially three) could screw over millions of people in the US? I had a letter to the editor published, by the way, warning that Canadians shouldn't be complacent about our abortion rights as too many groups and politicians here are stoked by the unjust overturning of Roe v. Wade.
As I said, all this nonsense going on perplexes and bewilders me to no end. But it does make it clear that we as vegans have to fight on all fronts and on behalf of ALL animals (including human ones) if we're going to help this planet become less topsy-turvy than it is.
That's it for now from me. Hopefully it won't be another year before I reappear again!